Saturday, April 30, 2016

NBA Playoffs

NBA Playoffs Bracket
CBSSports.com


The NBA Playoffs are well underway.  The first round has proven how strong the competition is among the teams this season.  In fact, four of the eight teams in the Eastern Conference finished with the same regular season record (Miami, Atlanta, Boston, Charlotte).  Not surprisingly, Charlotte and Miami are headed to a Game 7 matchup to determine who enters the second round.  Indiana and Portland will also play a Game 7.  It took six games for Atlanta to get past the Boston Celtics.  Cleveland swept its series against Detroit, but a couple of those games were very close. 

In the Western Conference, the regular season records were not as tightly clustered.  The Golden State Warriors won a record-high 73 games, while their first-round opponents, Houston, finished with a 41-41 record.  Last season’s MVP Stephen Curry got injured in the first round, so he was unable to help clinch the series over Houston.  Nevertheless, Golden State won the series in five games.  None of the matchups in the Western Conference resulted in a Game 7.  San Antonio swept its series against the Memphis Grizzlies.  Oklahoma City defeated Dallas in five games, and it took Portland six games to put away the Los Angeles Clippers.   

The top three seeds in the Western Conference have advanced along with the #5 seed.  Portland faces Golden State in the second round while the San Antonio Spurs take on the Oklahoma City Thunder.  In the Eastern Conference, #1 Cleveland enters the second round against #4 Atlanta.  The Game 7 winners in the Eastern Conference will face each other in the second round (Miami/Charlotte vs. Toronto/Indiana) to fill out the rest of the bracket.  There is a lot of great basketball left to enjoy before we get to the NBA Finals in June.    

Central Library Hosting Jefferson County Hiring Process Workshops, May-July 2016

The Central Library is hosting three free workshops from May through July that will cover the process of applying for Jefferson County jobs, and how to master pre-employment tests, including oral interviews. The workshops are presented by the Jefferson County Human Resources Department, and scheduled for Monday, May 9; Monday, June 13; and Monday, July 11, 2:15-3:15 p.m., in the Linn-Henley Research Building, 4th floor, Regional Library Computer Center.

To register for the workshops and to find out more information about small business resources available at Birmingham Public Library, contact Jim Murray of Central Library’s Business, Science and Technology Department by email at jmurray@bham.lib.al.us or by calling 205- 226-3691.

Visit the BPL blog or the events calendar for information on other upcoming business and financial workshops available at the Birmingham Public Library.

Friday, April 29, 2016

Birmingham Public Library Taking Its Genealogy Workshops to Trussville, Shelby County Libraries

Younger Kids of 80th Place South
Birmingham, 1955, Cubert A. Wood
Birmingham Memory Project

The Birmingham Public Library’s Southern History Department is taking its popular genealogy workshops on the road to other libraries.

The Beyond the Basics of Genealogy workshop, Piles of Paper and Digital Dilemmas: Organizing Your Genealogy Research, will be going to the Trussville Public Library on May 4. The workshop will cover both paper and digital file organizational systems, and is designed for everyone from the beginner to the experienced genealogist. Staff from the Southern History Department at the Central Library will also be teaching Introduction to Genealogy for the first time in Shelby County at the Mt. Laurel Public Library.

Here is a listing of genealogy workshops BPL is offering during the month of May:

Sunday, May 1, 2:30-3:30 p.m.
Luther Ray Watts and Friend across from AOH Church of God
Birmingham, 1975, Juliette Watts
Birmingham Memory Project
Introduction to Genealogy – Want to learn how to do genealogical research? Come to this introductory class that will help get you started on your genealogical journey. No registration is required, and it will be held on the first floor of the Central Library’s Linn-Henley building in the Southern History Department.

Wednesday, May 4, 1:00 p.m., at Trussville Public Library
Piles of Paper and Digital Dilemmas: Organizing Your Genealogy Research (Beyond the Basics of Genealogy encore presentation) – Is your genealogy research out of control with piles of paper and scattered files on your computer? If you answered yes, come learn about different methods of organization and techniques for both paper and digital files and set yourself up for organizational success. For more information or directions, please call 205-655-2022.

Thursday, May 12, 12:30-1:30 p.m., at Mt. Laurel Public Library
Introduction to Genealogy – Want to learn how to do genealogical research? Come to this introductory class that will help get you started on your genealogical journey. Bring your lunch! The library will supply coffee, lemonade, and dessert. For more information or directions, please call 205-991-1660.

Tuesday, May 17, 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
Introduction to Genealogy – Want to learn how to do genealogical research? Come to this introductory class that will help get you started on your genealogical journey. No registration is required, and it will be held on the first floor of the Linn-Henley building in the Southern History Department.

Here is the remaining 2016 Beyond the Basics of Genealogy schedule:

Two Girls Sunbathing
Birmingham, 1933, Sara Coggin
Birmingham Memory Project
Saturday, July 16, 10:00 a.m.
Let's Talk about It: Oral History
– Relatives and family friends are important sources of information. Whom do you want to talk with (everyone) and what do you want to ask (everything). Join us in this introduction to oral history. Learn how to gather information from those who have difficulty remembering or are troubled by the past and reluctant to share it.

Saturday, August 27, 10:00 a.m. 
Jump Into the Gene Pool: Genetics and Your Family History – Discover how genetic research can help you explore your family history. Find out what a gene sample can tell you about what parts of the world your ancestors came from and more. Jump in!

Saturday, October 1, 10:00 a.m.
Genetic Genealogy Strategies for African American and Native American Research – There is no magic in genetic genealogy and no special tests for African American and Native American research, but there are choices you can make that may enable you to confirm and to go beyond the evidence of the paper trail.

All Beyond the Basics of Genealogy workshops are free of charge, but registration is requested. To register, contact the Southern History Department of the Birmingham Public Library at 205-226-3665 or askgenlocal@bham.lib.al.us.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Free Monthly Medicare Workshops Available at Area Libraries


The A, B, C, & D's of Medicare: Free Monthly Medicare Workshop

Jefferson County and Shelby County public libraries are pleased to invite you to a free Medicare educational workshop conducted by Karen Haiflich, an independent benefits advisor specializing in Medicare. Haiflich is volunteering her time to help you better understand your options as you embark upon this important milestone. She will cover the following information from the official U.S. Government Medicare handbook:

  • Defining Medicare and its four parts (A, B,C & D).
  • How and when to enroll in Medicare (what happens when you're already on Medicare and turn 65).
  • When you can change plans (annual open enrollment, special enrollment periods).
  • Medicare health plan coverage choices (Medigap/Medicare supplement plans and Medicare Advantage plans).
  • Medicare prescription drug coverage.
  • How to get help paying your Medicare premium, prescription drugs, and other Medicare costs.
  • What if I keep working? What if my spouse isn't on Medicare? How does Medicare work with other coverage, etc.

Come and get simple straightforward answers to these and other questions to help you better understand Medicare and the options available to you. The workshop lasts approximately one hour and is very interactive.

If you have questions, call or email Karen Haiflich at (205) 965-0614 or Karen.Medicare@iCloud.com

Schedule
Room 116
3rd Tuesday of every month 
12:00 p.m. and 6 p.m.

Hueytown Public Library
3rd Friday of every month
1:00 p.m.

Meeting Room
2nd Thursday of every month
12:00 p.m.

Tree House
2nd Wednesday of every month
1:00 p.m.

2nd Monday of every month
1:00 p.m. 

Bards & Brews Poetry Slam Scheduled at Central Library, Friday, May 6



WHO: Birmingham Public Library
WHAT: Bards & Brews Performance Poetry/Beer Tasting
WHEN: Friday, May 6, 2016
WHERE: Central Library
TIME: Music starts at 6:30 p.m. and poetry performances begin at 7 p.m.

Birmingham Public Library's (BPL) popular Bards & Brews poetry performance/beer tasting series returns with a poetry slam on Friday, May 6, at the Central Library. Usually held the first Friday of each month, the event will feature free craft beer sampling provided by Yellowhammer Brewing. The J. Clyde will handle the pouring.

The event starts at 6:30 p.m. with live music by Susan Lawrence, beer tasting, and light refreshments. The poetry begins to flow at 7:00 p.m. with Brian "Voice Porter" Hawkins serving as host. The event is made possible by grants from the Alabama State Council on the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts. Admission is free and open to the public; however, attendees must be at least 18 to enter and 21 to participate—ID is required.

“Bards & Brews brings in the most diverse crowd of any BPL-sponsored programs, and the poetry you hear reflects that diversity,” said Haruyo Miyagawa, department head of Central Library’s Arts, Literature and Sports Department. “You’ll hear hip-hop infused rhythms, romantic ballads, and everything in-between.”

Miyagawa said Bards & Brews has built a loyal following since it started five years ago.

“We've made ardent fans of folks who were skeptical about poetry as entertainment,” she said. “This is not your grandfather’s staid poetry event with the poet reading stiffly before a hushed audience. Guests are encouraged to express their appreciation for a riveting performance or their disapproval for a judge’s low score. At Bards & Brews, poetry becomes a communal experience, harking back to its roots in the oral tradition."

Poets wanting to participate in the slam can sign up on site for $5 each beginning at 6:30 p.m. The following month, Bards & Brews will take place at the Avondale Regional Branch Library on Friday, June 3, with an open mic poetry night. For more information, call 205-226-3670, e-mail hm@bham.lib.al.us, visit the Bards & Brews Facebook page, or go online to www.bplonline.org/bardsbrews.

Avondale Library, UAB Partner to Offer Free Autism Educational Workshop on May 10


Chances are that you, a relative, friend, or coworker has someone in their family affected by autism, one of the nation’s fastest-growing ailments. The UAB Comprehensive Neuroscience Center and the Avondale Regional Branch Library are partnering to offer a free autism educational workshop on Tuesday, May 10, at 6:30 p.m.

The Reading Brain and Its Role in Autism workshop will be presented by Rajesh Kana, associate professor of psychology at UAB. Kana is director of the Cognition, Brain, and Autism Laboratory and co-director of the Undergraduate Neuroscience Program at UAB.

For more information, call the Avondale Library at 205-226-4000 or visit the library. You can also get information on the UAB Comprehensive Neuroscience Center at www.uab.edu/CNC.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Erotica



Erotica and erotic literature have been around for a long time. You can find all kinds of erotic literature out there to meet whatever fantasy a person may have.

Some of my favorite authors:
Jay Bell (Something Like… series)
Sylvia Day
R. G. Alexander
Kindle Alexander
Damon Suede
Jaci Burton
Opal Carew
Emma Holly
Lora Leigh
Laurell K. Hamilton

Great erotic literature sources:
Fantastic Fiction  Wonderful information about all kinds of fiction, especially series.

Fantastic Fiction for Adults Only – This is the erotic literature site for Fantastic Fiction. Must be viewed at home.

Goodreads – User created information about books of all kinds. The lists feature is very useful.

Samuel Rumore
Springville Road Regional Branch Library

Monday, April 25, 2016

Southern History Book of the Month: What Stands in a Storm: Three Days in the Worst Superstorm to Hit the South’s Tornado Alley

What Stands in a Storm: Three Days in the Worst Superstorm to Hit the South’s Tornado Alley
Kim Cross
Foreword by Rick Bragg

Anyone who has grown up in Alabama knows that tornadoes are a fact of life and it’s best to be prepared for them. Experienced citizens of a strip of territory known as Dixie Alley, similar to the Tornado Alley of the Great Plains, watch the skies for cloud formations and odd colors that signal an impending storm. One report on the so-called Dixie Alley—ironically updated as of 4/26/2011—claims that the Southern corridor of land may be even more of a tornado target than the Great Plains.

As if to underscore that claim, April 27, 2011, ushered in a devastating storm that has gone down in history as one of the worst disasters ever to strike this area. In her book What Stands in a Storm, Kim Cross has compiled years of research and eyewitness reports into a brilliant and terrifying account of the destruction in areas that lay in the path of a nightmarish “wedge” tornado more characteristic of the Great Plains storms than the typical narrow-funnel Deep South twisters. Tuscaloosa was widely discussed in the news coverage because of the enormous size of the tornado as recorded on video at that location, but anyone who lived through that day knows the roll call of other towns and cities—Cordova, Hackleburg, Phil Campbell, and many more—that suffered tornado strikes during the outbreak:
In a tiny town fifty miles north of Tuscaloosa, a woman stood under an awning, taking thoughtful drags from a cigarette. She noticed pink wisps that looked like cotton candy floating incongruously through the air. The sun was shining and the backlit raindrops quickly morphed into pea-size hail that peppered the ground. Wet-cotton clouds snuffed out the sun, and the sky turned green and jaundiced. The woman looked up with a thought she had never had.

If fear had a color, this is it.
As a lifelong resident of Alabama, I know the look of that green sky, the strange cotton clouds, and the warning of hail, and Cross’s succinct and poetic narrative style definitely brought back memories of all my unease and fear as I sat in my “place of safety” that day, listening to the radio and wondering where the storm would strike next and if my community would escape.

This week marks the fifth anniversary of the tornado outbreak. Take stock of your supplies, check the batteries in your weather radio, consider downloading a weather app on your smartphone, and have a place of shelter at the ready, for we are definitely in the heart of tornado season. However, as one meteorologist points out in What Stands in a Storm, tornadoes are not necessarily confined to one time of the year:
A great number of highly educated people believe that tornadoes do not occur where they live. Unless they live in Antarctica, they are all wrong. “This comforting myth can kill you,” wrote the meteorologist Chuck Doswell. “Tornadoes have been observed on every continent and in every American state at every hour of the day and in every month of the year.”
Be safe, everyone.

For more on Kim Cross and tornadoes:
Kim Cross

Books
A History of Alabama’s Deadliest Tornadoes
A Generational Storm: The Tornadoes That Hit Alabama: April 27, 2011
Day of Devastation: Photos & Stories of Alabama's Deadliest Tornado Outbreak

Mary Ann Ellis
Southern History Department
Central Library

Central Library Hosting Steps to Starting Your Business Seminar on May 2


The Birmingham Public Library (BPL) will host several small business seminars over the next several months beginning Monday, April 4, 2016. The seminars will take place at the Central Library.

The small business seminars are being offered by BPL in partnership with the Service Corps of Retired Executives (SCORE) and the City of Birmingham’s Office of Economic Development.  The second Steps to Starting Your Business seminar will be held from 12:00 to 1:00 p.m. on Monday, May 2, in the Central Library’s Arrington Auditorium, located on the fourth floor of the Linn-Henley Research Building. That same seminar will also be offered on Monday, June 6.

Seminar presenters will be veteran mentors from the Birmingham chapter of SCORE, a national nonprofit comprised of volunteers willing to share their business knowledge and experience with prospective entrepreneurs and small business owners. For over 50 years, SCORE mentors have helped millions of business owners start or grow their business.

The seminars are free but registration in advance is required. To register, contact Valencia S. Fisher of the City of Birmingham’s Economic Development Office by email at valencia.fisher@birminghamal.gov or by phone at 205-254-2799.

The other small business seminars are as follows:

How to Use Legal Strategies to Protect Your Business, presented by Josh Andrews, a Birmingham lawyer specializing in legal issues of concern to small business owners. The seminar will be offered in the Arrington Auditorium from 12:00 to 1:00 p.m. on April 28, July 28, and October 27. The seminar is free but advance registration is required. To register, go to the Birmingham SCORE website at www.birmingham.score.org and click on the seminar title in the Upcoming Events section.

7 Ways to Secure Your Business Data, presented by Sawyer Solutions, a Pelham-based information technology company. The seminar will be offered in the Arrington Auditorium from 12:00 to 1:00 p.m. on May 9, August 8, and November 14. The seminar is free but advance registration is required. To register, go to the Birmingham SCORE website at www.birmingham.score.org and click on the seminar title in the Upcoming Events section.

For more information about seminars and other resources about small business development available at BPL, contact Jim Murray of Central Library’s Business, Science and Technology Department by email at jmurray@bham.lib.al.us or by calling 205-226-3691.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Central Library Hosts Three Free Financial Programs, April 25 & 26


Money Smart Week is an annual nationwide campaign aimed at increasing financial literacy and promoting better decision making on issues related to personal money management. This year, Money Smart Week will be held from April 23 to April 30. The Birmingham Public Library will be doing its part to celebrate the week by hosting three free public programs at the Central Library location:

Fact vs. Fiction: Busting the Social Security Myths
Monday April 25, 2016, 12:00-1:00 p.m.
Central Library, Arrington Auditorium, Linn-Henley building, 3rd floor
Get a jumpstart on your retirement planning by attending "Fact vs. Fiction: Busting the Social Security Myths." The program presenter is Briana Collins, public affairs specialist for the Social Security Administration in Alabama. This program is free, but registration is required. Please register by contacting Jim Murray of the Central Library’s Business, Science and Technology Department by e-mail at jmurray@bham.lib.al.us.

How to Use the Financial Ratings Series Online Database
Tuesday April 26, 2016, 9:15-10:15 a.m.
Central Library, Regional Library Computer Center, Linn-Henley building, 4th floor
If you are interested in adding another tool to your financial planning tool box, then join us for a demonstration of the library database, Financial Rating Series Online. Financial Rating Series Online is a powerful financial planning database that provides users with detailed stability ratings of banks, insurance companies, stocks, mutual funds, and ETFs. A staff member from the Central Library’s Business, Science and Technology Department will demonstrate how to navigate the database. This program is free, but registration is required. To register, please -email cenrtc@bham.lib.al.us or call 205-226-3681.

How to Use the Morningstar Database
Tuesday April 26, 2016, 10:30-11:30 a.m.
Central Library, Regional Library Computer Center, Linn-Henley building, 4th floor
Whether you are just getting started with investing, or are already a seasoned pro, Morningstar Investment Research Center can make you a better informed investor. Morningstar Investment Research Center is an all-inclusive investment research database designed specifically for libraries. In this program, a library staff member will demonstrate how to use the database to select and monitor stock and mutual fund investments. This program is free, but registration is required. To register, please email cenrtc@bham.lib.al.us or call 205-226-3681.

When considering your personal financial goals, the Birmingham Public Library is a good place to go for free and authoritative resources on budgeting, savings, investing, and much more. So, make plans to stop by and check out some of the amazing resources and services we have to offer! For further information, please contact the Central Library’s Business, Science and Technology Department at 205-226-3690.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Central Library Hosting "How to Use Legal Strategies to Protect Your Business" Seminar on April 28



The Birmingham Public Library (BPL) will host several small business seminars in 2016 beginning in April and ending in November that will take place at the Central Library. The small business seminars are being offered by BPL in partnership with the Service Corps of Retired Executives (SCORE) and the City of Birmingham’s Office of Economic Development.

Seminar presenters will be veteran mentors from the Birmingham chapter of SCORE, a national nonprofit comprised of volunteers willing to share their business knowledge and experience with prospective entrepreneurs and small business owners. For over 50 years, SCORE mentors have helped millions of business owners start or grow their business.

“How to Use Legal Strategies to Protect Your Business" is presented by Josh Andrews, a Birmingham lawyer specializing in legal issues of concern to small business owners. It is scheduled for Thursday, April 28, from 12:00 to 1:00 p.m., in the Central Library’s Arrington Auditorium, located on the fourth floor of the Linn-Henley Research Building. This same seminar will also be offered on Thursday, July 28 and October 27.

The seminar is free but advance registration is required. To register, go to the Birmingham SCORE website at www.birmingham.score.org and click on the seminar title in the Upcoming Events section.

For more information about seminars and other resources about small business development available at BPL, contact Jim Murray of Central Library’s Business, Science and Technology Department by email at jmurray@bham.lib.al.us or by calling 205-226-3691.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Registration Open For May 2016 Classes

Registration is now open for staff and the public for the May 2016 Computer Class Schedule.  During this month, we include our popular computer classes, such as Basic PC and Internet Safety.  All classes are held in the Regional Library Computer Center (RLCC) of the Central (downtown) LibraryPRE-REGISTRATION IS REQUIRED FOR ALL CLASSES.

Please note that registration does not necessarily guarantee you a spot in the class. You will receive an email confirming your registration for classes.  You may also call to confirm your registration.

To register for any class, please email us at cenrtc@bham.lib.al.us or call 205-226-3681.   You may also download and print a pdf copy of  May 2016 Computer Class Schedule to bring to a Computer Commons staff member on your next library visit. Please note that the May 2016 Class Schedule pdf can be sent to us as an email attachment.

Book Review: Hunter Killer: Inside America's Unmanned Air War

Hunter Killer: Inside America’s Unmanned Air War
Lt. Col. T. Mark McCurley

“They also serve who only stand and wait."
–John Milton, "On His Blindness"

In 2003 the U.S. military was fighting in both Iraq and Afghanistan. T. Mark McCurley found himself wearing a U.S. Air Force officer’s uniform but not flying a fighter jet or bomber. He was a pilot with years of experience and certified to fly multiple types of planes, including the AWAC, but in the Air Force only the best of the best fly fighters and bombers, and engage the enemy directly. Men and women in any branch of the military want to make a contribution that will end their country’s war honorably, and bring their brothers in arms home safely. He felt he was not making a difference.

The men and women who fly fighters and bombers must maintain constant control of their plane and weapons. Even a slight error could result in death or friendly fire. The Fokker Dr1 triplane that the bloody Red Baron flew in World War I has been replaced by the F-16 Falcon, the F-15 Eagle, and the B-1 Lancer, but the ‘knight of the air’ mentality remains unchanged. For McCurley, this mentality was summed up by popular Air Force T-shirt: “Pi-lot: n. The highest form of life on earth.”

In a decision that smacked of desperation, McCurley volunteered for the RPA (remotely piloted aircraft) program. In order to make a more direct contribution to the war on terror, he abandoned the dream of flying a fighter or a bomber over enemy territory for the reality of controlling a drone from an air-conditioned box planted firmly in the Nevada desert.

When he joined the RPA program, the Air Force wasn’t necessarily even looking for the best, or most experienced, pilots for this new program. Remotely controlled planes were not flown by Tom Cruise. In fact, most didn’t even have weapons. The drone was, like its ancestor the early bi-plane, seen as useful only for observing the enemy. Many of his fellow classmates were rejects from fighter pilot school. The fact that he had volunteered for the program was viewed by his instructors as a bonus.

McCurley was introduced to the drone craft via the Predator at Creech Air Force base located 45 minutes from the Las Vegas strip. The Predators were not armed, but they “could reach altitudes of up to twenty-five thousand feet and fly for more than 20 hours without refueling.” They were unarmed, but compared to a conventional bomber or fighter plane, they possessed almost mystical optical equipment. Infrared, night vision, and photographic lenses sensitive enough to secretly identify the face of a terrorist were capabilities that made the new aircraft ideal for surveillance missions in the war on terror.

At first, McCurley found the very basics of flying a drone frustrating. Despite his many flight certificates and hours in multiple types of U.S. Air Force planes, he found himself experiencing extreme difficulty simply flying and landing the two-thousand-pound craft. He had been taught to use all his senses to successfully fly a plane. Behind the keyboard of a drone, a pilot senses little. There is no engine noise, no buffeting from air pockets. A drone pilot is cocooned thousands of miles from his craft, reacting to colored cursors on a monitor. Embedded in this distance is a latency of three to seven seconds. In other words, the pilot can move the stick, pedals, or push buttons on the keyboard, but must wait for the aircraft to react. Three to seven seconds can be an eternity for a pilot trained to fly a traditional aircraft. A Predator, or Reaper, pilot must anticipate the craft’s response without actually being in the craft.

After training, he began to fly surveillance missions from his converted Sea-Land container in the Nevada desert. Airmen located on forward bases in the Middle East would launch the fragile and ungainly craft locally. McCurley and a sensor operator would take control via satellite once the machines were airborne. Flying 25,000 feet above an oblivious target was hardly breathtaking. At one point, they tracked a courier for 60 consecutive days, 24-seven. These were called “pattern of life” missions and frequently led to other couriers or cell leaders. “Do that for weeks on end and flying the Predator was more like working in a factory. All of the sexiness of being a pilot was gone.”

McCurley was providing invaluable intelligence for ground troops. He was helping his fellow Americans, but he was shadowing, not fighting, the enemy. That would soon change dramatically.

Military and civilian commanders realized that the drones’ ability to pinpoint individuals also made the craft ideal as a weapons delivery system. The Reapers were soon armed with Hellfire missiles, and their crews trained for combat. McCurley not only found himself dropping ordinance on enemy combatants, but also training his fellow pilots on the finer points of targeting terrorists. Commanders were demanding more hunt and kill missions. “More pilots were learning to fly the Predator and Reaper than any other aircraft in the Air Force. The RPA community was slowly climbing out the basement of the Air Force fleet.”

But actively serving can have a downside. The near magical optics of the drone sometimes reveals too much. Unlike fighter or bomber pilots, the killing of high profile targets can require stalking, much as a hunter stalks his prey. Sometimes the set-up for the kill can take weeks or even months. As a result, the drone pilots become extremely familiar with the targets, their habits and possibly even their family. They are no longer simply standing and waiting, they see the face of the enemy as the missiles fall. At one point McCurley is stopped at a red light outside of Las Vegas. Just hours before he had remotely killed a terrorist thousands of miles away. He’s haunted by the man’s “sightless eyes” and asked himself “what greater sin could I have committed?” He is no longer standing and waiting, he is most definitely serving.

Hunter Killer, by Lt. Col. T. Mark McCurley, is not Rumor of War for the War on Terror, but it is an important book because McCurley’s time behind the controls of a drone spans the years 2003 to 2011. This is a period that saw not only the growth of the RPA program, but an innovative use of drones that changed the way America wages war.

David Ryan
Business, Science and Technology/Social Sciences Department
Central Library

Central Library to Host "Boost Your Sales" Program for Small Business Owners on April 27


Sales is the most crucial function of a small business. No matter what kind of goods or services a small business produces, the sales of these good and services is the single greatest determinant of the amount of revenue the small business can expect to generate. Without sufficient revenue, a small business cannot survive for very long. So, if sales are flat, or worse, in decline, this should be an alarm to the business owner to take action and investigate ways to improve the situation before it becomes irreparable.

Are you a small business owner or entrepreneur who is concerned about your sales performance? If so, please plan to attend “Boost Your Sales,” a program aimed at providing you with both a new slant to your sales approach and ideas for crafting a more effective sales plan. The program will be held from 12:00 to 1:00 p.m. on Wednesday, April 27, 2016, in the Arrington Auditorium located on the fourth floor of the Central Library’s Linn-Henley Research Building. The seminar is free, but registration is required. To register, please visit the Birmingham SCORE website and click on the seminar title in the Upcoming Events section.

The program presenter is Octavia Kuransky, founder and principal trainer for the Go Sales Group. With a background in psychology and business, Kuransky is concerned with treating the whole business person. She is currently a part-time instructor in the Jefferson State Community College’s Department of Corporate and Community Education. She has made presentations for the Fairfield Career Development Center, the University of Alabama-Huntsville, and facilitated training for employees of the Alabama Power Company. Kuransky is also the former program manager for the SBA funded Central Alabama Women's Business Center.

This event is one of several programming collaborations between the Birmingham Public Library (BPL) and the local office of SCORE (Service Corps of Retired Executives). For more information about public programs and other resources for small business development available at BPL, please contact Jim Murray of the Central Library’s Business, Science and Technology Department by e-mail at jmurray@bham.lib.al.us or by calling 205-226-3691.

Jim Murray
Business, Science and Technology Department
Central Library

Monday, April 18, 2016

Free Financial Programs Offered at Central Library During Money Smart Week, April 23-30





To view the 2017 Money Smart Week, click here.

Money Smart Week is an annual nationwide campaign aimed at increasing financial literacy and promoting better decision making on issues related to personal money management. This year, Money Smart Week will be held from April 23 to April 30. The Birmingham Public Library will be doing its part to celebrate the week by hosting three free public programs at the Central Library location:

"Fact vs. Fiction: Busting the Social Security Myths"
Monday April 25, 2016, 12:00-1:00 p.m.
Central Library, Arrington Auditorium, Linn-Henley building, 3rd floor
Get a jumpstart on your retirement planning by attending "Fact vs. Fiction: Busting the Social Security Myths." The program presenter is Briana Collins, public affairs specialist for the Social Security Administration in Alabama. This program is free, but registration is required. Please register by contacting Jim Murray of the Central Library’s Business, Science and Technology Department by e-mail at jmurray@bham.lib.al.us.

"How to Use the Financial Ratings Series Online Database"
Tuesday April 26, 2016, 9:15-10:15 a.m.
Central Library, Regional Library Computer Center, Linn-Henley building, 4th floor
If you are interested in adding another tool to your financial planning tool box, then join us for a demonstration of the library database, Financial Rating Series Online. Financial Rating Series Online is a powerful financial planning database that provides users with detailed stability ratings of banks, insurance companies, stocks, mutual funds, and ETFs. A staff member from the Central Library’s Business, Science and Technology Department will demonstrate how to navigate the database. This program is free, but registration is required. To register, please e-mail cenrtc@bham.lib.al.us or call 205-226-3681.

"How to Use the Morningstar Database"
Tuesday April 26, 2016, 10:30-11:30 a.m.
Central Library, Regional Library Computer Center, Linn-Henley building, 4th floor
Whether you are just getting started with investing, or are already a seasoned pro, Morningstar Investment Research Center can make you a better informed investor. Morningstar Investment Research Center is an all-inclusive investment research database designed specifically for libraries. In this program, a library staff member will demonstrate how to use the database to select and monitor stock and mutual fund investments. This program is free, but registration is required. To register, please e-mail cenrtc@bham.lib.al.us or call 205-226-3681.

When considering your personal financial goals, the Birmingham Public Library is a good place to go for free and authoritative resources on budgeting, savings, investing, and much more. So, make plans to stop by and check out some of the amazing resources and services we have to offer! For further information, please contact the Central Library’s Business, Science and Technology Department at 205-226-3690.

Jim Murray
Business, Science and Technology Department
Central Library

Fact vs. Fiction: Busting the Social Security Myths Presentation Hosted by Central Library, April 25


The purpose of the Social Security System is to provide income support for people who do not work, either due to old age or disability. As a function of the federal government, the system is made up of a complex array of policies, procedures, and regulations. This complexity invariably creates for us some confusion and prompts some questions:

  • Is Social Security going bankrupt?
  • Will Social Security fully fund your retirement?
  • Will you get out of Social Security the amount you put in?
  • Should you enroll in Social Security as soon as you’re eligible?
  • Can you work and receive benefits?

Unfortunately, incorrect answers to these kinds of questions have proliferated and have helped to spawn quite a few myths and misconceptions regarding Social Security. Get ready for a reality check. In this presentation, attendees will get informed answers to common questions and learn the facts about the agency’s different benefit programs. The presenter will be Briana Collins, Public Affairs Specialist for the Social Security Administration (SSA) in Alabama.

Fact vs. Fiction: Busting the Social Security Myths will be held on Monday, April 25, 2016, from 12:00 to 1:00 p.m., in the Central Library’s Arrington Auditorium. The event is free but registration is required. Please register by contacting Jim Murray of the Central Library’s Business, Science and Technology Department by e-mail at jmurray@bham.lib.al.us. Before coming to the event, attendees are also encouraged to create their own My Social Security account on the SSA’s website at www.socialsecurity.gov/myaccount, and then bring the completed statement with them. This will allow for specific questions to be discussed and more precise answers provided.

Jim Murray
Business, Science and Technology Department
Central Library

Friday, April 15, 2016

AL.com Donates 240 Books to Birmingham Public Library as Part of National Library Week

(left to right) Ed Fields of AL.com, BPL Director Angela Fisher Hall, BPL
Deputy Director Sandi Lee, and Fox 6 reporter Jeh Jeh Pruitt

AL.com, Alabama’s leading news website, donated 240 books to the Birmingham Public Library (BPL) in celebration of National Library Week. The donation includes 20 copies of 12 different titles, including Birmingham's Best Bites, a best-selling food book that is donating $2 from each sale to the Birmingham Public Library.

Ed Fields, director of Events & Community Engagement at Alabama Media Group, made the donation live on Fox 6’s Good Day Alabama to BPL Director Angela Fisher Hall on April 14, 2016. Hall said the Birmingham Public Library is appreciative of the book donation, adding that they will play an important role in helping serve patrons of BPL’s 19 locations across Birmingham.

“This is a continuation of the great partnership the Birmingham Public Library has had with AL.com over the past two years through their printing of Birmingham's Best Bites," Hall said. “We want the public to know that for every purchase of this book, $2 from the sale goes back directly to the Birmingham Public Library to help us provide services for the public.”

Birmingham Best Bites is available in book stores across Alabama, including the Friends Bookstore inside the Central Library. Fields said AL.com is proud to partner with BPL.

“Education and literacy are incredibly important to AL.com and our publishing partner, Advance Central Services, who facilitated this gift of more than $5,000 in high quality, Alabama-proud publications,” Fields said. “We encourage everyone to visit the Birmingham Public Library's new easy-to-access bookstore to purchase any of our 12 titles for summer reading. In fact, AL.com will donate $2 cash for every Birmingham’s Best Bites book sold by the Birmingham Public Library.”

Birmingham Public Library book donations by AL.com (20 copies of each title):
Birmingham's Best Bites by Marti Duncan and Chanda Temple
1963: How The Birmingham Civil Rights Movement Changed America and the World by Barnett Wright
Alabama Barbeque: Delicious Road Trips by Annette Thompson
The Ultimate Guide to Alabama Fishing by Mike Bolton
Alabama Road Trips: 52 Great Getaways; foreward by Rick Bragg
Alabama Food: Classic Dishes, Restaurants and Chefs; foreward by “Sister” Schubert
4.27.11: Day of Devastation: Photos & Stories of Alabama’s Deadly Tornado Outbreak
Historic Alabama: A Comprehensive Guide to the State’s Unique Southern Heritage by Pam Jones
Outdoor Alabama: A Comprehensive Guide to Fun and Adventure in Alabama the Beautiful by Donna Cornelius
Alabama Sports: A Comprehensive Guide to Sports in Alabama by Steve Dupont
Alabama Arts by Karyn Zweifel
Green Power: The Successful Way of A.G. Gaston

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Libraries in Birmingham, Jefferson County Celebrating National Library Week

Kala Davis, left, with Inglenook branch manager Karnecia Williams


Patrons of the Inglenook Branch Library were greeted with cookies and lemonade on April 13 as the 19 locations of the Birmingham Public Library (BPL) system joined the Public Libraries in Jefferson County in celebrating National Library Week.

For Kala Davis, a longtime patron of the library, the Inglenook Branch is a vital part of her neighborhood. “I love it. It’s close to where I live. This library is an important part of our community,” Davis said after chatting with Inglenook branch manager Karnecia Williams.

The annual observance, from Sunday, April 10 through Saturday, April 16, celebrates the dynamic changes happening in today's libraries. This year's National Library Week theme—“Because Transformation is Essential to the Communities we Serve”— mirrors a multi-year public awareness campaign led by the American Library Association.

Libraries in Birmingham and Jefferson County are exchanging library cards for free this week, waiving the usual replacement cost of $3. All previous library cards are still valid at any of the 40 locations in Jefferson County.

This week only, libraries in Birmingham and Jefferson County will also allow patrons to download a $5 coupon to pay off past due fines. See attached coupon link at http://intranet.jclc.org/sharedresources/. The $5 Fine Coupon is also available for printing from the website PublicLibrariesInJC.org or you can pick one up at your local Jefferson County library.

Showcasing how libraries provide more than just books, several libraries in Birmingham and throughout Jefferson County are hosting a variety of programs and afterschool services for patrons this week. Here is just a sampling of some programs taking place in BPL locations this week:

  • After School Adventures, Woodlawn Branch Library, Thursday, April 14 at 4:00 p.m. – Alabama 4H Science School offers an afternoon of hands-on-fun with some of Alabama’s most famous reptiles: turtles, snakes, gators and more.
  • Beyond the Basics of Genealogy workshop “Digital Divide,” Central Library, 10:00 a.m. In this workshop, you discover digital genealogy resources from the original Southern colonies and search strategies to find untapped information and locate your ancestors. Workshops are free of charge, but advanced registration is requested. Call the Southern History Department of the Central Library at 205-226-3665.
  • Free screening of “The Truth" Up & Coming documentary, Central Library, Arrington Auditorium in the Linn-Henley Research Building, April 16 at 2:00 p.m. This documentary by Sonya Mitchell, which debuted in September 2015 at the Sidewalk Film Festival, details how Carla “The Truth” Youngblood moved from corporate America to stand-up comedy.
  • From Page to Stage: Pinocchio – A Readers’ Theater Workshop for Children, Central Library, Sunday, April 17, 2:30 p.m. Attend the workshop and receive two tickets to the live show. Page to Stage is made possible in partnership with the Birmingham Children’s Theatre and Junior League of Birmingham. Go to http://www.bplonline.org/calendar/ to see a listing of workshops in library branches across Birmingham.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

How May We Help You Today?

Checking out a patron at Pratt City Library

Did you know that every item you check out helps your library? I’ve sometimes heard patrons tell me, “Oh, I don’t want to take too many,” as if they were depriving someone else of using those items. What you may not know is that every single time an item is checked out of any of our public libraries, it helps all of our public libraries! So do a little “retail therapy” that won’t cost you a dime—browse your library’s collections, and take home a book, audiobook, magazine, music CD, DVD, or one (or more!) of each.

Silly stories and crafts courtesy of Pete the Cat:
  I Love My White Shoes
at Avondale Library

There are many items available from your library website that you can access 24/7—and that’s not by accident. Librarians looked at patrons’ needs for information and we have changed a lot of the ways we provide services, from downloadable audio and e-books to database accessibility. But believe it or not, not everyone in the community has access to a computer except through their local library; so books are not going away. We anticipate that people will still be reading hard copies of books for many, many years. Hopefully, libraries, with all the wonderful FREE access to accurate and current information, will be, too. (Remember, the Internet can be a wonderful source of information, but there are no rules, laws, regulations, or policies that insure anything on the Internet to be true, up-to-date, or correct.)

Staying connected at North Birmingham Library

Lots of conversing and crafting going on at
Springville Road Library's Coffee, Conversation, and Crafts

If you want the best sources for information, ask a librarian, and we’ll be tickled to show you how to find them. It’s what we do, and we do it well. Libraries and librarians are here to make sure that when anyone in the community, regardless of who they are, how much money they make, where they come from, where they live now, what color their skin is, or how old they are, have free access to information.

See you again tomorrow!

Stay connected to BPL via Twitter, Flickr, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Pinterest, and Tumblr.

Kelly Laney
Springville Road Regional Branch Library

Central Library to Host Participatory Reading of Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing, April 19


Be a Shakespearean actor for an evening!

On Tuesday, April 19, there will be a drop-in reading of William Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing at 5:30 p.m. at the Central Library. In recognition of the 400th anniversary of the Bard's death, this is a participatory reading of his work.

Parts will be assigned at 5:30 p.m. and the reading will begin at 5:45 p.m. At the beginning of each act, parts will be reassigned based on attendance. The event will end at 7:45 p.m. A copy of the play will be provided—or bring your own if you'd like!

Come any time you are able during the program and leave when you must! For more information, call 205-226-3670 or e-mail agraham@bham.lib.al.us.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

WORD UP! Teen Poetry Slam Announces 2016 Winners after Competition at Central Library

2016 WORD UP! winners from left to right:
 Emma Camp, a sophomore at Alabama School of Fine Arts (1st place); 
Jeralyn Langford, a senior at Clay-Chalkville High School (2nd place); 
and Ellie Goldstein, a junior at Homewood High School (3rd place)

Three of Jefferson County’s most talented young spoken word artists were crowned winners after participating in WORD UP!, a poetry slam for students enrolled in high schools or homeschooled in Jefferson County, on Sunday, April 10, 2016, at the Central Library.

The first place winner ($300 prize) is Ellen Camp, a sophomore at Alabama School of the Fine Arts. Winning the second place $200 prize is Jeralyn Langford, a senior at Clay-Chalkville High School. The third place winner ($150) is Ellis Goldstein, a junior at Homewood High School.

The slam is sponsored by the Birmingham Public Library (BPL) and Real Life Poets, a nonprofit creative writing organization based in Birmingham. Ten students in grades 9 through 12 performed an original work of poetry inspired by the theme “Speak Out!”

Camp’s poem is titled “For Teenaged Girls”; Langford’s “Victim”; while Goldstein performed an original work titled “O Soldier.”

Each participating high school held a preliminary contest, and the winners from each school competed in the WORD UP! competition. The participating schools for this year were as follows: Carver High and Parker High Schools of the Birmingham Public School System; Clay-Chalkville High School, Homewood High School, Alabama School of Fine Arts, Bessemer High School, and Holy Family Cristo Rey Catholic High School.

For more information about WORD UP!, call Haruyo Miyagawa at 205-226-3670, e-mail hm@bham.lib.al.us, or visit the WORD UP! webpage at http://www.jclc.org/wordup.aspx.

Monday, April 11, 2016

BPL Joins Public Libraries in Jefferson County in Celebrating National Library Week, April 10-16


What can you do with a library card? Explore the fun ways to use your local library as the Birmingham Public Library (BPL) joins the Public Libraries in Jefferson County (PLJC) in celebrating National Library Week Sunday, April 10 through Saturday, April 16, 2016.

Is your library card worn out? Libraries in Birmingham and Jefferson County will be exchanging library cards for free that week, waiving the usual replacement cost of $3. All previous library cards are still valid at any of the 40 locations in Jefferson County.

The popular annual $5 Fine Coupon will also be available for printing from the website PublicLibrariesInJC.org or pick one up at your local library. New services include online or telephone library card renewal and expiration dates have been extended from one to two years.

National Library Week (April 10-16) celebrates the dynamic changes happening in today's libraries. This year's National Library Week theme, “Because Transformation is Essential to the Communities we Serve,” mirrors a multi-year public awareness campaign led by the American Library Association.

Designed to increase public awareness of the value, impact, and services provided by libraries and library professionals, the Libraries Transform campaign showcases the critical role libraries play in communities across the country in today’s digital age.

Here are just some of the services provided by libraries in Birmingham and Jefferson County:

  • With one card, you can borrow or return books, audio books, DVDs, and music from 40 library locations throughout Jefferson County.
  • Download e-books and e-audiobooks from the BPL and Jefferson County library websites for free. Choose from the 34,660 new popular titles or classics in our collection straight to your e-reader or smart device.
  • Advance your career! Discover job searching tools, resources, and computer classes.
  • Ace that test with Learning Express Library test preparation for SAT, GRE, ACT, GED, police and fire exams, plus many more.
  • Make the honor roll. Research homework topics in a wide variety of online databases.
  • Get free live one-to-one online tutoring help. Go to Homework Alabama @ PublicLibrariesInJC.org. Available 3:00-10:00 p.m. for academic subjects and 10:00 a.m.-10:00 p.m. for job search assistance.
  • Start a family tradition, Read–Learn–Play, for free at storytime for babies on up.
  • Curious? Join a book club. Adults have loads of fun at library programs too!
  • Access free WiFi!

The Public Libraries in Jefferson County, DBA Jefferson County Library Cooperative, Inc., is a non-profit 501(c) (3) organization that links the 40 public libraries throughout Jefferson County. These include 21 municipal libraries and the 19 locations of the Birmingham Public Library System. The mission of the Public Libraries in Jefferson County is to connect all citizens countywide by providing resources and community-building opportunities that inspire life-long learning. 

Avondale Branch Library Hosting Ukulele Workshop, Emily Dickinson Programs in April

Ukulele time at Avondale Library!
BPL on Flickr

If you’ve been dreaming about playing the ukulele but need some help to get started, the Avondale Regional Branch Library has a class just for you. Ukulele 101 will take place on Saturday, April 30, at 9:30 a.m.

Designed for the absolute beginner, this 45-minute introduction will provide enough information to get you strumming. Class size is limited, so register in advance by calling 205-226-4003. The class will be taught by Avondale Library’s very own Mrs. Eve: “Once you start strumming, you will never want to stop. It just makes you happy.”

The class is an extension of the library’s Uku-Lending Program, brain child of storyteller Eve Parker. After reading several articles about similar programs being offered at libraries in Maine, Nebraska, and Georgia, Mrs. Eve began dreaming. Thanks to her hard work and a generous donation of 13 ukuleles from Fretted Instruments in Homewood, the dream became a reality. As of today, over 85 patrons have participated in Birmingham Public Library’s Uku-Lending Progam.

“Hope” is the thing with feathers -
That perches in the soul -
And sings the tune without the words -
And never stops - at all -
– Emily Dickinson

This month, Avondale Library has hosted three programs featuring poet Emily Dickinson’s work as part of The Big Read Birmingham, a spotlight on Emily Dickinson. Several Birmingham Public Library branches are participating in The Big Read sponsored by the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with Birmingham-Southern College, the Public Libraries of Jefferson County, and other organizations.

Articles of Interest:
"Uku-Lending at Birmingham Public Library." BPL Blog. August 25, 2015.
http://bplolinenews.blogspot.com/2015/08/uku-lending-at-birmingham-public-library.html

Ashton, Edward. "Avondale Library introduces ukulele lending program." Weld for Birmingham. September 18, 2015
http://weldbham.com/blog/2015/09/18/avondale-library-introduces-ukulele-lending-program/